Network Working Group M. Rose Request for Comments: 3683 Dover Beach Consulting, Inc. BCP: 83 March 2004 Category: Best Current Practice A Practice for Revoking Posting Rights to IETF Mailing Lists Status of this Memo This document specifies an Internet Best Current Practices for the Internet Community, and requests discussion and suggestions for improvements. Distribution of this memo is unlimited. Copyright Notice Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2004). All Rights Reserved.
AbstractAll self-governing bodies have ways of managing the scope of participant interaction. The IETF uses a consensus-driven process for developing computer-communications standards in an open fashion. An important part of this consensus-driven process is the pervasive use of mailing lists for discussion. Notably, in a small number of cases, a participant has engaged in a "denial-of-service" attack to disrupt the consensus-driven process. Regrettably, as these bad faith attacks become more common, the IETF needs to establish a practice that reduces or eliminates these attacks. This memo recommends such a practice for use by the IETF.
1. Introduction. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 2. A Revocation Practice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 3. Acknowledgements. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 4. Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 5. Normative References. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Appendix A. Q & A . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Author's Address. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Full Copyright Statement. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
Guidelines have been developed for dealing with abusive behavior (c.f., Section 3.2 of  and ). Although not exhaustive, examples of abusive or otherwise inappropriate postings to IETF mailing lists include: o unsolicited bulk e-mail; o discussion of subjects unrelated to IETF policy, meetings, activities, or technical concerns; o unprofessional commentary, regardless of the general subject; and, o announcements of conferences, events, or activities that are not sponsored or endorsed by the Internet Society or IETF. In practice, the application of those guidelines has included the temporary suspension of posting rights to a specific mailing list. If necessary, the length of the suspension has been increased with each successive suspension. In many cases, applying those guidelines will produce the desired modification in behaviour. However, when those guidelines fail to provide the desired modification in behaviour, more drastic measures should be available to reduce or eliminate these attacks' impact on the IETF process. This document describes one such drastic measure.
3] for the meaning conveyed by the uppercase words in this section. As a part of its activities, the Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG) makes decisions about "actions". Typically, an action refers to the publication of a document on the standards-track, the chartering of a working group, and so on. This memo recommends that the IESG also undertake a new type of action, termed a PR-action ("posting rights" action). A PR-action identifies one or more individuals, citing messages posted by those individuals to an IETF mailing list, that appear to be abusive of the consensus-driven process. If approved by the IESG, then: o those identified on the PR-action have their posting rights to that IETF mailing list removed; and, o maintainers of any IETF mailing list may, at their discretion, also remove posting rights to that IETF mailing list. Once taken, this action remains in force until explicitly nullified and SHOULD remain in force for at least one year. One year after the PR-action is approved, a new PR-action MAY be introduced which restores the posting rights for that individual. The IESG SHOULD consider the frequency of nullifying requests when evaluating a new PR-action. If the posting rights are restored the individual is responsible for contacting the owners of the mailing lists to have them restored. Regardless of whether the PR-action revokes or restores posting rights, the IESG follows the same algorithm as with its other actions: 1. it is introduced by an IESG Area Director (AD), who, prior to doing so, may choose to inform the interested parties; 2. it is published as an IESG last call on the IETF general discussion list; 3. it is discussed by the community;
4. it is discussed by the IESG; and, finally, 5. using the usual consensus-based process, it is decided upon by the IESG. Of course, as with all IESG actions, the appeals process outlined in  may be invoked to contest a PR-action approved by the IESG. Working groups SHOULD ensure that their associated mailing list is manageable. For example, some may try to circumvent the revocation of their posting rights by changing email addresses; accordingly it should be possible to restrict the new email address. Finally, note that the scope of a PR-action deals solely with posting rights. Consistent with the final paragraph of Section 3.2 of , no action may be taken to prevent individuals from receiving messages sent to a mailing list.
 Bradner, S., "IETF Working Group Guidelines and Procedures", BCP 25, RFC 2418, September 1998.  Harris, S., "IETF Discussion List Charter", BCP 45, RFC 3005, November 2000.  Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119, March 1997.  Bradner, S., "The Internet Standards Process -- Revision 3", BCP 9, RFC 2026, October 1996.
Q: C'mon! You really are a closet fascist. A: No, I'm a libertarian. Frankly, I would prefer that people behave reasonably and act in good faith. Since my first involvement with the IETF (nee GADS, circa 1983), everyone understood that reasonable behavior was a good thing. After 20 years, I regret to inform you that this step is inevitable.
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